Apr 28, 2013

Tropical COCKTAILS Anyone?

"Roy's Saketini"– Sake Vodka Martini
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Hawaii tropical cocktails are generally thought of as some over-sweetened rum concoction served on Waikiki Beach with a cheap paper umbrella stuck in it. In reality, tropical cocktails are a combination of island flavors that usually starts with fresh local fruit and ends with a combination of hard liquor that will put you on the floor if not careful, but who's complaining. Moderation my friends, moderation.

In Hawaii, it's downright rude to invite someone into your home and not offer something to drink and nibble on. Drinks and pupus, as appetizers are called here, have always been an important part of Hawaiian hospitality. 

I've put together a few of my favorite tropical cocktails for you to try the next time you have a luau, you'll never want a plain old rum and coke again. Just remember to say ʻŌkole maluna! which in Hawaiian means Bottoms Up!

Tropical Cocktail Recipes:
"Roy's Saketini"– Sake Vodka Martini
I was first introduced to this cocktail in San Francisco in 1966 by my friend Roy Omi. Roy's family owned a Japanese restaurant on California Street. I have found several recipes for Saketini's, but I like this one best. The hardest thing is finding the acitic and sweet tasting pickled ginger sprouts that garnish and flavor this drink. They are about 5 inches long, 1/4 inch round, and are colored red. They come in a 11.5 ounce jar of 25 sprouts, and are made by Wel-Pac, Hajikami, and are distributed by JFC International Inc, South San Francisco, CA. You can sometimes find them in Japanese grocery stores. Fortunately my son sends me a bottle of ginger sprouts every Father's Day, but I don't share.

2 1/2 ounces vodka, frozen (Tito's is my favorite)
1 ounce sake, chilled
1 pickled ginger sprout for garnish
1 cup crushed ice

Fill up cocktail shaker with ice until 2/3 full. Add vodka and sake and shake until ice cold. Take chilled martini glass. Strain and pour prepared saketini into glass and garnish with a pickled ginger sprout.

Classic Mai Tai Cocktail
The mai tais made in the 1950's on Waikiki Beach were both delicious and powerful. They were a far cry from the watered-down fruit-punchy versions you get in most lounges today. This is a recipe for a classic mai tai mix. You add rum according to your taste.

Ingredients for Mai Tai Mix:
1 cup bourbon (I use Maker's Mark)
1 bottle (fifth) orange curacao
1/2 cup liliko'i juice (passion fruit juice)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup orgeat syrup (this liquid is simply a sweetened almond syrup with a little orange flower water, and can be purchased on ebay, Amazon.com, and from most liquor stores.)

Mix together to make 1 gallon. Keep in the refrigerator to make up mai tais.
To make an individual mai tai:Fill your glass with crushed ice. Pour in 1 jigger of light Puerto Rican rum. Fill the glass with Mai Tai Mix, leaving an inch at the top. Then float 1 jigger of heavy dark Jamaican rum on top. Garnish with mint, pineapple, and an orchid. Be as corny as you like.

Pineapple Mojito
3 ounces Brugal Añejo Rum, the Caribbean's #1 selling rum
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce Pineapple Juice
2 slices pineapple
4-5 lime wedges
6-8 mint leaves
mint sprig for garnish

Muddle the pineapple, lime, and mint in the bottom of acocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and add the other ingredients. Shake well and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Makes 1 cocktail.

Star Fruit Martini
1 fresh star fruit
1/2 ounce white rum
1/2 ounce Cointreau
2 ounces orange juice
1 cup ice
orange twist

Slice off 1 section of the star fruit to get a star shaped slice and set aside for the garnish. Remove the ribs along each edge and seeds of the rest of the star fruit, then puree in a blender with the orange juice. Add 1 cup of ice to the blender, the rum and the Cointreau and blend until smooth. Pour into your chilled martini glass. Slide the star fruit slice onto a cocktail pick, top with orange twist and serve. Makes 1 cocktail.

Lilikoi Lifeline
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Lilikoi Lifeline
1 ounce Tito's Vodka, frozen
1 ounce of lilikoi pulp

Cut a lilikoi (Hawaiian for passion fruit) in half and spoon half of the pulp into a shot glass, seeds and all. Pour frozen vodka on top and give the lilikoi pulp a little stir with a chopstick. Very easy!

Mango Martini
Mango Puree Ingredients:
2 fresh ripe mangos, OR 2 cups frozen prepared mango (cubed)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/3 cup water
3 teaspoon sugar

Martini Ingredients:
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce vermouth
4 ounces prepared mango puree (see above)
1/4 cup crushed ice (or a few ice cubes if using a blender)

Place prepared mango in a blender or food processor. Add the lime juice, water, and sugar. Blitz well to create a beautiful mango puree. Taste-test your puree - it should taste like a thick and very delicious mango juice (note that if you're using a semi-ripe mango OR frozen mango, you may need to add more sugar). If you want your martinis to have a very smooth texture, strain the puree through a sieve (I like mine as is, with the occasional tiny piece of mango - more flavor and all the fiber!). Now measure all the martini ingredients into a shaker, including the mango puree you just made, and shake it up, or put ingredients into a blender and blitz a few seconds. Pour out into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of lime or a pretty starfruit. Makes 4 mango martini's.

White Dragon
Dragon Fruit
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Dragon fruit is a bizarre looking fruit from the cactus family. They're sweet and crunchy, with  flavors of kiwi and pear. Dragon fruit is particularly suited to making drinks, since it is mostly composed of water, making it quick and easy to blend up.

1 ripe dragon fruit
1/3 cup Tito's vodka
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons white sugar, to taste
2-3 ice cubes
1/4 cup coconut milk
garnishes: dragon fruit wedge

Prepare your dragon fruit by scooping out all of the flesh - see How to Prepare Dragon Fruit for Eating. Place dragon fruit flesh in blender or food processor. Add all other ingredients and blitz 20 to 30 seconds on high speed. Taste-test for desired strength and sweetness, adding more vodka if not strong enough, or more sugar if you'd prefer it sweeter (note that the sweetness will also depend on the ripeness of your dragon fruit - the riper, the sweeter it will taste). If too sweet for your taste, add another squeeze of lime juice. If too strong for your liking, add more coconut milk. Pour out into martini glasses and garnish with a slice of dragon fruit. Makes 4 drinks.

Hawaiian Ice Tea
1/2 ounce Tito's vodka
1/2 ounce light rum
1/2 ounce tequila
1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce triple sec
1 ounce sour mix
1 ounce pineapple juice

Build the ingredients in a collins glass. Stir. Makes 1 cocktail.

Golden Margarita
1 1/2 ounce Gold Tequila
1/2 ounce orange liqueur (Grand Mariner)
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
3 ounces sour mix
dash of orange juice (optional)
lime wedge for garnish
course salt for rimming glass (optional)

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. If desired, salt the rim of a chilled margarita glass. Strain the contents into the glass. Garnish with the lime wedge. Makes 1 cocktail.

Hawaiian Papaya Margarita
Hawaiian Papaya
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1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus zest for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 large Hawaiian papaya, halved, seeded
3/4 cup tequila blanco
4 fresh orchid blossoms (optional)

Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil syrup for 2 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup syrup into a large pitcher. Add lime juice and 1/2 cup cold water. Set lime syrup aside. Transfer 1/2 cup remaining hot syrup to a small bowl. Add rosemary; let steep 15 minutes. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain rosemary syrup into lime syrup; discard solids.
Do Ahead: Rosemary-lime syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Scrape papaya flesh into a food processor; purée until smooth. Measure 3/4 cup purée (reserve remaining purée for another use, such as a smoothie); add to pitcher with rosemary-lime syrup. Add tequila; whisk to blend. Fill 4 large wine glasses with ice. Pour cocktail over. Garnish with zest.

Sparkling Mango
2 ripe mangoes
1/2 cup Tito's vodka
1/4 cup lime juice (or juice of 1/2 lime)
pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoon natural syrup, like maple syrup or 1 -3 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
1 bottle champagne OR sparkling white wine (or substitute sparkling spring water if you prefer less alcohol)

Optional Garnishes: ice cubes OR crushed ice, lime wedges/slices, plus fresh cherries or other fruit of your choice

First, cut the mangoes and drop all their succulent flesh into your blender. Add the vodka, lime juice, salt, and syrup or sugar. Blend well to create a kind of mango puree. Now do a taste-test, adding more syrup or sugar if desired (how much syrup will depend on the sweetness of your mangoes). This drink should be a balance between sweet and sour, but leaning more toward the sweet. Pour this wonderful mango concoction into glasses, half-filling them. Top up with your choice of champagne, sparkling wine, or sparkling spring water if you prefer less alcohol. Finish with a couple of ice cubes or some crushed ice. If desired, garnish glasses with slices/wedges of fresh lime, plus your choice of fresh fruit. Makes 6-8 cocktails.

Coco Loco
1/4 jigger white rum
1/4 jigger tequila
1/2 jigger Tito's vodka
1 jigger coconut cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 ice cubes, cracked
spirals of lemon peel for decoration
1 maraschino cherry for decoration

Put the rum, tequila, vodka, coconut cream, lemon juice and ice cubes in a blender. Blend for 15 seconds. Pour into a large wine goblet or tall glass. Decorate with the lemon spirals and sit the cherries on top. Serve with a straw. Makes 1 cocktail.

Coconut Sour
2 ounces sour mix
1 ounce coconut milk
1 ounce white rum

Fill a glass with ice. Add the sour mix, coconut milk, and rum – then stir. Garnish with a lime wedge, lemon peel, or cherry. Makes 1 cocktail.

Fresh Lychee Martini
Fresh Lychee
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2 ounces orange vodka
6 fresh lychees, peeled (You can also use canned lychees in this recipe. Just remove them from the can and leave as much syrup in the can as possible.)
3/4″ – 1″ piece of fresh ginger (sliced into disks)
1 teaspoon simple syrup (simple syrup is equal parts of sugar and water, dissolved)

In a shaker add the ginger and 4 lychees. Muddle (crush) until the ginger is broken up and the lychees have given up their juice and pits (remove the pits). Add in the simple syrup, vodka and some ice. Cover the shaker and shake until it’s cold. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with a pick of 2 fresh lychees. Make 2 cocktails.

Lychee Sunrise Cocktail
1, 20 ounce can lychee, drained
2 cups orange juice
grenadine syrup
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup Tito's vodka
12 ice cubes
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Divide orange juice evenly between 4 large glasses. Pour a few drops of grenadine into juice; stir once to give marbled effect. Blend or process lychees, sugar, gin, ice and lime juice until smooth. Carefully pour lychee mixture over orange juice. Makes 4 servings.

Pomegranate Red Sangria
1 ounce Pama Pomegranate Liqueur
1 ounce brandy
3 ounces white wine
1/2 ounce triple sec
1 ounce lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
club soda
garnish: orange, apple, and kiwi slices

To make simple syrup, mix equal parts hot water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Combine all ingredients except club soda and wine in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with ice and wine. Top with club soda. Garnish with orange, apple, and kiwi slices. Makes 1 cocktail.

Kiwi Martini
2 ounces Tito's vodka
1 lime cut into 8-16 pieces
1 kiwi fruit peeled and thickly sliced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 ounce simple syrup

Place the lime, kiwi, and brown sugar in a cocktail shaker then muddle (combine ingredients by pressing). Add the ice, vodka and sugar syrup, shake vigorously. Pour into glass with a slice of kiwi fruit. Makes 1 cocktail.

The Caipirinha
This is the national drink of Brazil made with Cachaça, a liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice.

1 lime (cut-up, middle removed)
1 teaspoon organic sugar
2-3 ounces Cachaça

In the bottom of a rocks glass, muddle the sugar with the lime wedges. Fill the glass with ice and add Cachaça. Stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge. Makes 1 cocktail.

The Painkiller
The official cocktail of the British Virgin Islands and one of the most popular mixed drinks in the Caribbean. I prefer to call this cocktail "The Hair of the Dog".

2-4 ounces of Pusser's Rum
4 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounces cream of coconut
1 ounces orange juice
grated fresh nutmeg

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add first four ingredients and stir. Pour into cocktail glasses and top with grated nutmeg. Makes 2 cocktails.

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